Improvements have been made in recent time to tackle what I call the attachment issue in emails. Mail servers limit the maximum size of emails, and every email that exceeds that size is bounced back to the sender. Many providers and programs have added cloud hosting solutions to their services that can be used to upload files to so that mail limits are no longer a problem.
Compression may be another option even though it may not be the most comfortable of solutions. I reviewed the Auto Zip extension for Thunderbird back in 2007 which was one of the first that automated the process to make it more comfortable. The extension has not been updated since 2008 and while it may still work, it is fair to say that the author has abandoned it.
Auto Compress File is an alternative that provides you with a similar functionality. While it still requires you to press a button to compress some or all of the attachments, it is more convenient than having to use a third party program like 7-zip or WinZip to do so.
What's great about the extension is that it will display a prompt to you when it recognizes that files can be compressed. You just need to click on yes to do so, everything else is handled by the extension (based on rules that you can configure in detail in the settings).
The settings are very extensive. Here are some important ones that you may want to modify:
- Define filters for compressed files including the skipping of files if the content size is lower than a certain size in Kilobytes or if the benefit of compressing the file is lower than a certain percentage.
- Define if a click on the toolbar button compresses all files that meet the requirements, or if only selected attachments should be compressed on activation.
- Define when the prompt to compress files is displayed in the program (send now, later or in background, save as draft, template or automatically as draft).
- Filters for file names and file extensions.
- Filters for recipients that you want to whitelist or blacklist.
- Select a default compression level.
- Add comments to the zip file.
- Enable character replacement.
The extension can be really useful in a number of situations. This includes reducing the bandwidth required to send emails by reducing their sizes - sometimes significantly - to using the archives later on for easier archiving.